I recently took a bread baking class in New Orleans and left with all sorts of lessons learned (and bread smells in my hair and dough under my fingernails). I’m very often on the teaching end of a baking class. Teaching something I know very well and can most likely accomplish in the dark with my eyes closed. That’s not a humble brag, I’ve just made a lot of pies.
Being a student in a realm you aren’t entirely comfortable in is full of feels and vulnerability. Valuable really, vulnerability is a good space to learn from. What I learned that afternoon in bread baking class was more of a remembering than a learning. Remembering that it’s hard to walk into a new room full of strangers to learn something new. Remembering it’s intimidating when the teacher walks by your work table while you’re awkwardly trying to fold very sticky dough. Remembering that reluctance and fear in these situations are self-imposed and easy to overcome with a pep talk because putting yourself in situations where you’re learning new things is beautiful and brave, and dangit just do it.
I spent the weekend at King Arthur Flour teaching pie baking. Teaching the tricks of cold butter, light kneading, proper rolling, major latticing.
I’m taking all of that knowledge and all of those rules and throwing them out the window for this recipe.
We’re making a simple tart with an herby cornmeal crust that you press into a tart pan and pinch into coins to top. The filling is jam- the really good sort straight from the fridge straight from the jar.
A take it easy summer tart. Lets get the iced coffee going too.
We’re doing that baking hack where we rub zest and herbs into granulated sugar to extract the most flavor.
We’re old pros. Let’s be casual about it.
Softened butter is added to the fragrant sugar.
It’s serious and it’s time to cream this business.
Hand beaters get it done like a dream.
Extra luxuriousness and lenience in this tart crust with egg yolks The extra fat and protein will make the crust more pliable and press-in-able (technical term).
Butter, sugar, eggs combined.
Flour, salt, and baking powder are added to the wet mixture.
The dough will certainly on the wet side of a tart dough.
Certainly nothing to worry about. Some time in the refrigerator to firm and chill will be just right.
Wrapped and ready to chilllllll.
Me too. I’m ready to chill too.
After the dough chills, we’ll take 2/3s of it and place it in a removable bottom tart pan.
In with the jam. You can even mix preserves because you’re an animal and we’re just using what we have in the fridge. This is that.
With the remaining 1/3 of dough, I pinch it into thin (kinda coin shaped) pieces of dough and place it atop the jam. The most simple of tarts.
A good sprinkling of sugar and we’re off to the oven were things get warmed and browned.
I love this tart served room temperature or chilled, giving the crust and jam enough time to marry and solidify. It’s durable and delicious- simple with a bit of flare from fruit and herbs. It’s proof that you can know the fancy rules on baking engagement, and set them aside occasionally with delicious success.
- 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons lemon zest
- 2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh rosemary
- 1 large egg
- 1 large egg yolk
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup coarse stone-ground cornmeal
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 3/4 cups good-quality fruit preserves
- turbinado sugar for topping
- Place a rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- In a small bowl work together lemon zest and chopped rosemary. Blend until the sugar is fragrant with citrus and herbs.
- In the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment (or in a large bowl with electric hand beaters), beat together butter and sugar until fluffy, about 3 to 5 minutes.
- Beat in the eggs and vanilla extract until smooth.
- In a separate medium bowl whisk together the flour, cornmeal, salt, and baking powder.
- Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix until the mixture just comes together.
- Wrap it in plastic wrap and chill it for 1 hour.
- Remove the dough from the refrigerator and separate 1/3 of the dough for the topping. With flour coated fingers, press 2/3 of the chilled dough into the bottom and sides of a 9 or 10-inch tart pan (the sort with a removable bottom).
- Spread the jam evenly over the dough.
- Pinch the last 1/3 of dough between your fingers, creating little coins to top the jam. Cover the top of the tart with dough coins and sprinkle generously with turbinado sugar.
- Bake until the pastry is golden brown and the jam is bubbling, about 25-30 minutes. Let cool to room temperature before serving or serve chilled.
- Tart lasts, well wrapped in the refrigerator, for up to 5 days.